In our new monthly fashion column In The Scene, the first of our two Lifestyle Columnists Sarah Smyth explains the latest trends, key pieces and how to wear them. For the first column, Sarah shows us how to accessorise one dress for five different nights out around Southampton.
Oh, the Southampton nightlife! The fun, the frivolity and the morning after’s hazy memory of the night before. When it comes to eveningwear, however, challenges such as how to afford all the outfits for our busy social schedule are presented. But never fear, I’ve picked one dress, a classic little black number with a modern twist, and I’ve accessorised it to create five different outfits for five different nights out in Southampton. With the right shoes, bag and jewellery, you can create a whole new look without having to break the bank!
Firstly, the dress. The simpler it is, the more you can dress it up for different occasions (and disguise the fact that you’re wearing the same dress to every event you go to!). A little black dress is a classic, so it’s worth investing in. However, when your LBD is going to be taken to Jester’s, I wouldn’t recommend spending a lot of money on it –it’s only going to get ruined! This one from Dorothy Perkins, £28, is simple, but the netting skirt adds a youthful and very fashionable twist. (Note: the mullet skirt – long at the back, short at the front- is very fashionable right now. However, I suspect that it won’t last more than a few seasons so I’d recommend buying a skirt of even length like this one for its longevity).
Also, this dress is in keeping with my Cardinal Rule of Eveningwear: Show your bum or legs but never both! Ladies, I understand that we’re in the prime of life and, hell, we have hot bodies so why not flaunt them? But keeping a little bit of flesh covered and leaving something to the imagination is so much sexier. Would Alexa Chung’s style have as much impact if she didn’t reveal her long, gamine legs but cover up her décolletage with a Peter Pan collar? I understand that sometimes a lady seeks a gentleman’s company for the night but, trust me ladies, wearing your shortest skirt and tightest top is no way to seduce them as there’s no allure… Also, stylish women dress for themselves and other women, not for men. This dress, then, flaunts the legs but hides the boobs. If you have a 36in bust rather than a 36in leg, go for something with a longer skirt and a lower-cut top.
Now that we have the dress, it’s time to look at the accessories…
Jester’s and Sobar
Let’s be honest, when it comes to dressing for Jester’s and Sobar, the key is to wear things that you don’t mind trashing or losing, so make sure nothing is valuable or expensive. I would also recommend not having too much loose jewellery that can get caught when on the packed dance floor. I’ve chosen to team our LBD with cool silver tones to keep things simple and streamlined. Matcht this with an envelope clutch from New Look, £15.99, and a simple cuff like this one from Dorothy Perkins, £6.50, to add a bit of glamour. Accentuate your waist with a simple skinny belt like this one from Asos, £6. Finally, slip on your Jester’s shoes (the cheaper, the better!), order a Jesticle and you’re good to go!
Strictly speaking The Hobbit is a pub, but it’s so much fun that it can be a night in itself, not just a pre-drinking watering hole. A leather jacket like this one from New Look, £49.99, is a must, not only to toughen up the dress, but also to keep you warm when you’re sitting in the courtyard on a winter’s evening. The rucksack from Asos, £44, is a fun edition and would work equally well on campus as a fashionable yet practical book bag. These boots from River Island, £90, may be expensive but they’re worth it if only for the serious attitude they add to the outfit! They’re red, they’re suede and they’re embellished. Cool but understated, they add to the outfit’s attitude. Finally, add this angular necklace from Topshop, £10, and finish with one of their famous cocktails in hand!
SUSU’s very own night out calls for a fun outfit. The relaxed atmosphere means flats are a blessed welcome. These, from River Island, £25, are understated but polished enough for a night out. Continue the gold tones throughout the outfit by accessorising with this fashion-forward cuff from Topshop, £12.50. The grey leopard print clutch from New Look, £12.99, will add a great contrast to the rose hairband from Topshop, £8.50. Pull your hair into a fashionable top knot (or if you’re not blessed with killer cheekbones, a slick low bun) and wrap the rose hair band around it. To finish the outfit, simply add a slick of dark red lipstick.
So our favourite cheesy club where the most outrageous sequin outfits were permissible has shut down. But in place of Reflex comes Popworld, and we’re not ready to pack away those sequins just yet! These glittery heels from New Look, £19.99, add some serious glamour. However, to stop it going overboard, pair them with these sophisticated earrings from New Look, £6.99, and a demure clutch with just a dash colour like this one also from New Look, £15.99. Pump up the jam!
Finally, if you ever do venture past Portswood or even Bedford Place, there’s always Oceana. Reputation suggests that the ladies of such an establishment aren’t aware of my bum or leg rule… Dress sexily but, also, stay sophisticated and glamorous. This minimalist bag from Asos, £45, is so chic, it’s Celine worthy. Team with a pair of seriously high heels like this plum pair from New Look, £19.99, to add some gothic glamour. The studded belt from Asos, £10, is an excellent way to accentuate your waist but also to ward off unwanted predators as it could inflict injury on those who come too close. However, if you do meet a gentleman who takes your fancy, simply remove and slip into your fabulous bag. Finish off the outfit with something a bit silly. I’ve chosen a hair band with cat ears as it’s fun, sexy and shows that you don’t take style too seriously. Add liquid eyeliner with a feline flick and party on!
Guys, have no fear! Look out for the men’s winter fashion article in Issue 3 of the Wessex Scene!